24 December 2011

Happy Holidays from FWS!

Nigel and I want to thank everyone that reads, follows, and comments on our little military science fiction blog, and have helped us grow yet another new year. We hope that one day, FWS will become the internet home for all things MSF related, giving Baen Books a run for its money.
What will 2012 bring to FWS? At the moment, Nigel and I are attempting to finish our MSF novels and get them submitted, but as for the blog, there will be the content you have come to expect from FWS, along with following the developments in the world of MSF. But, in short, FWS is likely to stay the same as it has been. If you can suggest something you would like to see on FWS, please comment below.
So, Happy Safe Holidays for all of us to all of you, drink some Eggnog, and see you in 2012!

23 December 2011

FWS News: The first trailer for Prometheus!

Man, it has been a good month for news on sci-fi movies! Here comes the first official trailer for Ridley Scott (AKA God)'s dark sci-fi epic. The word is that Prometheus is a prequel to 1979's  ALIEN. Honestly, this trailer left me speechless and amazed. Maybe this film, with help from God, can finally get the ALIENS universe back on track after years of pure shit. The other rumor is, after Prometheus, Mr. Scott is moving to the Forever War! Here is the trailer.
But be warned, you are not ready for this.

FWS Flash Fiction: Empty Place-Part Eight: "Crossing the Rubicon"

"This is for Soap..."

The CIC room, imbedded deep in the structure of FOB Shin was flooded with sounds, people darting back and forth, while in the center was a massive man, puffing on a fat cigar, his green eyes were locked on the holo floating just in front of him. His scoured expressed said it all. He touched his collar, just to check to see if the new star was indeed there, then new title seemed odd to Hochschuler, but every eyeball in the CIC was on him. “This intel is right, Perkins?” He asked the tech next to him.

“Three Fleet probes confirmed it, and their mathematic projections and my mathematic projections match up on the time table.”

He tapped the ash, “shit.”

“Yes sit, my thoughts exactly.”

“Get Cpt. Hawksworth in here, Perkins.”

“Roger that, sir.” With that, Hochshuler disappeared into his office with the hard copies of the Fleet intelligence. The General was old enough to remember when the discovery of the Sigma Draconis system that held the greatest concentration of wormholes in any settled system, it became a major trading point, causing Terminus to be the most important colonial world only second the capitol of Janus. As he eased down into his broken in chair, he smoked and thought of how things used to be…before the Wryd invasion. For the entire war, the colonies were on the defensive, not willing to risk troops and ships for a hunt-n-find through wormholes, so each colonial world became a fortress. Hochschuler bitterly remembered when the aliens found Sigma Draconis, and the both sides threw everything into the fight, that’s when he was sent to the frontlines, and when Terminus became known as Abaddon.

By the end of these initial battles, both sides had lost thousands, and most of their automated warships, so there war shrink down to one planet, with armies fighting in the darkness of the rope tree jungles, and relaying on quick drop supplies. But what Hochshuler had in his hand changed the battle for Abaddon. The Sync had assembled a flotilla of warships and troops to push off the colonials from Abaddon, and set up shop. The most grim news was that the colonial fleet could only sent half of what the Syncs were rolling in with, and there at the bottom of the intelligence report, in clear typed print, made the general’s heart stop. The spooks estimated that if Abaddon fell to the Sync, along with the network of wormholes, Janus would under the knife alien in less than two months. The only thing that broke him from his funk was when pilot Erin Hawksworth opened the office door.

The moment she entered his office, Erin was reminded of why she disliked their new commander, Hochschuler was a complete and utter slob. Pilots, for the most part, keep things neat, orderly, and bolted down in and out of the cockpit. But not the newly minted general, his office was a model for disorder, along with his ill-fitted uniform. However, Hawksworth did agree with most of his command decisions, especially when he opened the Sake, and poured two cups full.

“I need to know something, Captain.” She took one cup; they clicked and consumer the rice wine.

She sat down the cup for a refill, “anything, sir.” Hochschuler holo’ed up her recorder, and Hawksworth was suddenly uncomfortable with viewer her profile picture, it was a bad haircut.

“Are you really this qualified? You really went to these special aviator trainings?” She downed another cup attempted to silent a smartass comment that boiled up.

“If it’s on there, it’s no bullshit. Sir. ”

“Good, because you’re going to need the skills.” He opened a holo-map on his desk, representing this continental region of Abaddon. Shaded in red was all of the territory that the Sync had taken, all the way up to FOB: Shin’s front door, and behind them was several towns, the last civilians on this world.

“With the fall of White Forest and Jansen, they’ve got survivors to convert and it about a week; they’ll have to replenish their losses.” Erin made a disgusted face. That was one the worst parts about fighting an enemy like the Sync; they turned your wounded and missing into their soldiers, while we had to wait on a rare troop transport. “About that time, the Sync will have a flotilla of warships and transports, and with their advances, they could put spaceborne troopers down on our fucking heads.” Erin watched the simulations, cursed, and asked for another cup full, the General obeyed.

“When is the colonial fleet is going to send on their asses?”

“They are rushing a few warships, but most of the fleet is assigned to protection duty around Janus.”

“The real fight is here.” She reminded the general.

“No arguments here, captain, but command is dead-set on Janus being last stand, not Abaddon” That was foolish, thought Erin. She, like everyone else knew the importance of Abaddon, the brass was just taking to protect their own asses. If Abaddon falls, so does Janus.

“So, it’s up to us?”

“I want your skill-set and balls to pull off a backfire operation to the coastal stronghold of the Sync.” She made a grim face, and reached for the Sake bottle.

“Their AAA and garrison there is too heavy, we’d be seen and then wiped out.” She dismissed with easy.

“You’re going to take what’s left of the experienced jump-platoons and strike Hoppers to the temple, and wait for us to bring down the packages from the sky.” He smiled while relighting his cigar.

She cocked her head, “sir, I was under the impression that all the particle and kinetic orbital artillery satellites were taking out.”

“Oh, they were,” Hochschuler wore a Cheshire cat smile while puffing away. “The few sats left are most weather or some bullshit like that, but they’ve got radioisotope thermoelectric generators.” The general’s face produced another grin, “toxic rain.”

“We could lose most if not all of the groundpounders, sir.” Hawksworth stated, but was met with a laissez-faire glare.

“Look Erin, pick out units with mostly Earthers, they’re might to die.”

She cocked her eyebrow, “Ave Caesar,morituri te salutamus, eh, sir?”

“You have your orders, Captain!” That was her queue to go, and Erin took one last swig, mocked a salute.

“Task Meatgrinder, sir. They got the most Earthers.” Then she disappeared as General Hochschuler relit his cigar. He linked into the local network, and informed Colonel Burbaker he wished to see him and his two Earther operative. As Erin walked down the corridor, her mind still processing what the general was asking her to do, her deep brown eyes locked with the cold stares of two men. They were not even remotely similar to the recruiter rejects for that atomic wasteland, they were professionals, and they proudly worn that in their forbidden eyes. Erin observed until they disappeared into the general’s office. Hawksworth knew in her bones that something was going to die by the look of them, and not well, either.

They came and took seats like they were stars of the show, Hochschuler cocked an side smile. “Welcome, gentlemen, can I offer you something?”

The one with the heavy Victorian mustache took a smell of the Sake and made a repulsed face “Proper glass of Scotch, and whatever you’re puffing on.” The General obeyed, handing the bottle, while they lit up. The Englishman and Scotchman were completely relaxed, like they and the general went way back. If it had not been for their unique skill-set, Hochschuler would have them pushed out of a Hopper.

“You’re files are thick, gentlemen.” They said nothing, just continued to puff on the cigars. The General shrugged, and Burbaker continued. “So, this was you’re only way out, before the King’s son had you hunted down.”

“Scotland’s had a lot of kings, and we all know that Ex-Fils can be messy; this one comes with benefits, though.” Spoke the older one.

“Oh?” That peaked the general’s interest.

“Never been off-world before.” The colonel rolled his eyes, and pulled out his PDA, he was tired of this game.

“We have a job.” Their eyes turned to Colonel Burbaker.

“Isn’t that a surprise?” The room darkened and a holo spun up above the general’s desk. “Didn’t think we’re here for entertainment purposes.” Once again, Burbaker ignored the old one’s banter,

“You’re objective is the town of Flodden, the hub of the bastards on this world.”

“The wolf’s den, eh? Sounds like a real shit-storm.” They looked at one another and nodded. “We’re in”

“You didn’t have a choice, Earther.”

The older man took a final glorious puff from his cigar, “sometimes that the best way.”

“If you complete this, you’ll be transferred to the Selous School on Janus, to teach the next ones for when we take it to them.”

“If?” His attention swung to the Colonel opening several hard cases revealing long rifles. They both lifted themselves from their chairs then lifted the weight of the suppressed .338 magnum rifle, “what, no lasers on this one?”
“DEW line is too easy to track.” Burbaker took the weapon from the younger with the Mohawk.

“Your target is codenamed Asmodeus-”

“That’s lovely!” Exclaimed the younger Scottish one. “A fallen angel doin’ the bidding of hell, eh. Must be one hell of a target.” In the middle of his desk, the general punched up their target. It was unlike anything the two men had ever seen. It was an odd looking creature, more spider-like, crossed with a child’s nightmare. “Asmodeus is a high level genetics controller for the Wyrd, its death would be a serious loss to their ability to convert more of our soldiers.”

“What’s the intel like on this Asmodeus? Is it solid?” Burbaker knew what the older one was probing at, most soldiers had been burned by faulty intelligence.

“Micro UAVs picked up heavily armed aero convey coming from an Sync base, this was just after a single drop-pod was launched from a fast-mover that burned in then burned out. This target is important and for the aliens to bring him in, means their planning something big and they need a high-level controller to forge new bio-war machine.” The room grew quiet, only the puffing and smoke filled the office. The two soldiers knew the mission now, which drained the piss and vinegar out of them. “We cannot use air assets to place you near the base, however, there is a river that runs through, and you’ll go via an aquatic insertion, then ex-fil the same path.” The three dimensional map switched to a rotating graphic of the target. “To achieve 100% certainty on takedown of Asmodeus, you’ll need to hit here and here.” Two red dots appeared on the neck and head.

“A bullet through the brain to solve the world’s problems…sounds bloody familiar.”

The Colonel turned off the holo-projector and the light flashed back to normal, flooding the office. The two soldiers took the bottle of 21 year-old single malt Glenlivet Scotch, and poured four glasses. The younger one presented the glasses to the general and colonel. “Here’s to death of Asmodeus.”

20 December 2011

FWS News: All You Need is Kill Movie Deal!

This is a little dated by now, but it has been announced that Japanese light military sci-fi novel  All You Need I s Kill (in between a regular novel and a graphic novel) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka is slated to became a big-budget Warner Brothers Hollywood film being directed by Doug Liman (from the Bourne Identity) and starring Tom Cruise.
All You Need Is Kill is about an one day in the life of an armored power suit soldier from the 301st armored infantry division that is in the middle of a bloody war against an alien species that has laid siege to the Earth. The newbie soldier knows that his fate is to die on the battlefield, but then is caught in a temporal loop, repeating the same day over-and-over (Groundhog Day anyone?).
This is great news really, Tom Cruise as proven to a good track record with science fiction films, and Doug Liman is a skilled director with a good eye towards action and environment This is also good news for MSF as a whole, All You Need Is Kill as armored power suits, big sci-fi battles, and time loops, along with being widely acclaimed. I've read the a couple of pages of the light novel and found to be an excellent MSF read, and if done properly, it could be a real jewel of military sci-fi pictures. With a few other MSF movies on the horizon, the next few years could be good ones...well, that is if we all don't die in December of 2012.  

16 December 2011

FWS News Feed: The end of Terra Nova? And the Goliath Trailer

Terra Nova cancelled by FOX?!
It seems that Terra Nova is finally going to be put out of its misery. Monday's episode had a promo for next Monday's (12/19) two-hour season finale, and some sites are saying, along with star Jason Omara (via Twitter) that the final decision to send Terra Nova to the Gallows Pole will be made around the first part of the new year. That seems unlikely, the overall arch of the central plot, Taylor's son, the 11th pilgrimage, the Phoenix Group are all coming to a head at an accelerated pace, and it seems that the climax will be showed on 12/19's two-hour finale. These signs all point to a show that has entering the end of its life and the creators are trying to wrap the storyline up for the fans and DVD boxset.

The 11th Pilgrimage and the Phoenix Group?

So, where is the nuclear fusion power station to run this?
The powers that created the time portal and the colony of Terra Nova do not share the goal of using the Terra Nova settlement as a second chance for mankind with Commander/Governor Nat Taylor in charge of the operation. Since the pilot, there as been a shadow storyline (much like Lost) of some other group seeking to control Terra Nova in the past and in 2149. During the last few episodes, it as come out that Taylor's long-lost son, Lucas, has been working with the Phoenix Group to establish a stable time-bridge and use Earth-of-the-Past for resources to save the dying Earth of 2149. Prior to this, the Phoenix Group attempted to use the Sixth Pilgrimage as a force to oust Taylor from power, but lost, exiled, and became the central pain-in-the-ass to the colony since. Lucas finally got a working micro-time portal device and attempted to rise a coup with the arrival of Taylor's commanding officer, General Philbrick. The plan didn't work out, and Taylor had his son exiled, taking him years for him to gather the resources to rebuild the device along with working out the math. Lucas and the exiled Sixers allied together with the 2149 Phoenix Group to achieve their similar goals, apexing in the 11th pilgrimage. With military forces coming to the Terra Nova settlement, we can all bet that the settlers will use dinosaurs to win the day, then send a message to 2149 for the colony to be left alone, and the colony disappear into the past...

What happened to Terra Nova?

There were high hopes for Terra Nova, especially with the big names and bucks behind it, and I have to give FOX credit for attempting to keep this show around longer than they would have if Steven Spielberg wasn't a name on the credits. What killed this $1.5 million-per-episode time-traveling epic was that the characters, storyline, and the general mood never gelled, creating a show that always felt half-baked, and unable to move the ball down the field. There is simply a lack of creativity on the series, they wasted the concept of Taylor's lost son, the Sixers, and a fresh start for mankind. The Shannon family was to be core of the show originally, but these characters failed to say or do anything that mattered, often the Shannon family boiled down Jim Shannon and Commander/Governor Taylor going off on bro-love missions into the jungle together. This lack of having characters that were not developed enough and could not carry the show forward or for us to care if they were eaten created the downfall of everything else...wait, that might have made a better show.
Then there is the heavy-handedness of the storylines, and lack of being able to build the mysteries that were raised during the pilot. In the end,  Terra Nova's fate is similar to another Steven Spiedlberg TV series, SeaQuest DSV, where big names, big money, and a big network would not make it work. It just goes to show that it all comes down to writers. Maybe in a few years, Terra Nova will get a relaunch or remake.  

The GOLIATH Trailer

This very low-budget Military Sci-Fi/Alien Invasion trailer for a proposed movie is directed by Alex Popov, and it is quite simply amazing. More amazing is how technology allows filmmakers without a company or backers, like bloggers, to make impressive adverts for their craft. My brother and I made movies with our Super 8 camera, and later, a VHS camcorder, and it impresses me the level of beauty that be achieved via modern software. My hats off to the filmmakers of this daring trailer, and for making an original idea that I wished I come up with! It is my hope that someone in Hollywood sees this, and allows this military sci-fi dream to be a bloody reality.

10 December 2011

FWS Flash Fiction: Empty Places Part Seven: "Black and Tan"

The world of big wars contrasted deeply with the dirty hit-and-run raids I had experienced. Besides the amount of gunfire, gore, and weapons, there was the after-action ritual of cleaning up. Cleaning our weapons was never a top priority when I was running with Zinc, mostly we packed up the vehicles with our loot, and ran out before anyone else showed up, everything, and I swore that my AK ran dirty. After the Hoppers got us back to base, we lined up at small wall niches, and machines remove the armor piece-by-piece, but my Steyr-Phoenix Pulsar™ rifle was all my responsibility.

Luck me, the implanted training included a how-to guide for my DEW, but I didn’t feel human again until the machines in the rack pulled off the armor, followed up by a shower.

“Hey, FNG!” I turned to a large scarred man, handing me an AL-9 laser pistol. “Never be unarmed, newbie, you never known those fuckers will strike.” I took it wearily, as he moved off with some of his mates, snapping every other and laughing. No safety anywhere I guess. Within a few chaotic minutes, the room emptied out, matching my mood. No one seemed as effected by the recent violence as me. They just shrugged off the jarring encounter in the jungle, and moved on the pub to pound some pints, while my hands still shook.

I turned to engrossed my fractured mind to the task of cleaning the laser rifle, this was a byproduct of my old life with Zinc, while he and his mates indulged their evil streak on some poor victim, while I took a keen interest in the Range Rover’s engine. Another difference was impact of the constant stream of drugs, while the Courage shaved off the edge from the horrific battle, left me muted, dull, and feeling out-of-sorts.

That’s when Sgt. Ayoro came in. “What the hell, Sandoval?!” Her voice boomed across the empty equipment bay. I must have looked at with a dazed expression. “The drink?” I said nothing and returned to my weapon. “Oh no, you don’t! FNGs don’t get to be alone after their cherry as been popped” She took my arm with considerable grip. “Drinks. That’s an order.”The trooper I saved, Maya, hauled me to the bar module, scanned her pay-card, and took a chair. “What’s your drink Sandoval?” I searched in my head for a proper drink, “hmm, I don’t know we drank mostly homebrew and moonshine at the market.”

Maya made a face. “You’re from Earth...right?”

I was frankly surprised, “And you’re not? I thought all GIs were from Earth?”

She rolled her big dark eyes, “the colonies got fight too, you know.” She opened a bar holo-menu and ordered two drinks, and never asked me what I wanted. “Sorry, it just that, we colonials don’t want to own anything to Earth if we don’t have too.”

“You know, Maya, we feel the same way.”

She took a double take, “seriously? You’re going to say that after we tried to help you guys?!”

“Help us?!” I fired back, “help us?! When?! I’d reckon to know!” I pointed to my chest, “I grew up in that bloody shithole, watching for raiders, gangs, and alike, and no help came to us in my lifetime!” She watched me speak, as a tablet computer was dug out.

“You’re from Australia, right, judging by the accent?”

“Outside of Tanami Desert.” She tossed her personal computer in front me, playing a video of a riot. I could see people wearing colonial uniforms, others in rags, gunfire, and boxes being tossed.

“The Australian relief effort around Botany Bay.” There was nothing to say, it was clear from the footage that the colonies did try help, she paused the video. “You don’t want to see the end, the colonial soldiers were forced to fire on the mob, and some of the soldiers were dragged away. It was like this at every relief site, after a few aborted attempts, the colonies gave up.” I sat back in my well-used chair.

“But now, you magically show up, to help us again, right?”

“What the fuck do you care?” She spit back, “You’re here, Sandoval, to get off that dump? You not innocent either…more like mercenary, if you ask me.”

“I was-”

“Cease-fire!” Hawksworth commanded from above us just before it got really heated. “Look ground-ppunders, I pulled both your asses from the fire,” she held three fingers; “you own me and my co-pilot, and gunner.” Maya nodded and ordered a round of shots for the November-Witch gunship crew.

All of the drinks arrived up at the table’s slot, once the drinks were in-hand; the captain spoke, “to White-Forest, you shall be remembered!” The bar all saluted with the downing of shots and beers, I took a healthy sip of my two-toned beer, and was surprised at the strong favor of the nearly black beer on top. Feeling the drink warm gut, I stared at Maya Ayoro. She was the cleanest women I had ever seen, her skin was flawless, and smelled of soap, not marked up with scars or branding. She caught me looking; I tried to return to my two-toned beer. After only a few pints and a few games of darts, I was spinning, I needed to get out. I needed air.

“Hey, Sandoval, are you okay?” I bolted for the door, amid laugher and pointing, but accomplished my objective of not throwing up in the bar, but over the railing outside. I took a moment to clean myself up.
There, in the night’s sky, were dark curtain of alien stars and I marveled at my situation, and how empty those unfamiliar stars made me feel now, where they used to fill me with hope. I had been staring at stars since I could remember, wishing for the opportunity that I was now living.

Be careful what you wish for…

When I stared out at them back on Earth, I was dreaming, now I looked back to Earth, and remembered back when. My fuzzy thoughts floated back to my mother, then to Zinc. I hoped to Christ he was dead or suffering at the very least. Hell was too good for a scavenger like him. I walked up to the flight level, and flopped down inside the cargo area of a Hopper down for service. My mind spun, not just as a consequence of drinking black & tans, but the post-battle high was gone and the full weight of what happened slammed down. Despite, my feelings for that bullocks Zinc, and my fading memories of my mother, I had been surrounded by people that knew me. Here on Abaddon, I was truly alone. The only person I had got to know was smeared across my armor, and these Colonials didn’t even pick up her fucking body!

I could hold on to one glimmer of hope, one escape route: Elysium. I decided there and then, that Elysium, and its promise of a real world with green and dirt, was my new dream. I had lived out this one, being among the stars, and removed my shitty Earth-side situation. But, what I had done was traded one hell for another. The only real different was now the people I killed deserved it. I shivered, as the ghosts of my victims whirled around my heart as long buried memories of those the victims of people that had something that Zinc’s wanted.I always turned to miss those running vehicles, but when Zinc caught on, he beat the utter hell out of me. Those were truly the empty places of my soul, and I didn’t know if there was a god that could fill those cold dark places, but I wanted to believe that something else more than Courage would help in the forests packed with murderous aliens.

I laughed to no one at the how the sentence sounded, it was more like a poorly written sci-fi novel that the fantasy of my current surroundings! It didn’t really matter, though. I was here, those things were out there, and all I could do was survive through victory. With that profound musing, I promptly passed out in the Hopper.

05 December 2011

FWS Armory: What Gun Killed Osama Bin Laden?

On May 2nd, 2011, the most harrowing Special Forces mission ever undertaken by the US since Operation: EAGLE TALON, was launched to the kill the most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden. Before bullets hit the skull of UBL, there was years of work to find his location, and it was the his own courier that unknowingly led the US front door of the three-story house in Pakistan. That courier was followed by CIA teams in summer of 2010, and in August, the CIA discovered the unusual compound built in 2004.
Here UBL was attempting to hid in plain sight, by burning his trash, no hardlines for phones or internet, and with very high walls (about 12 to 18 feet tall). The CIA put all manner of surveillance onto the compound, satellites, drones, this included rented a house near the compound, and for months the CIA gathers on-site eyes-on intelligence on the complex. By February of 2011, the CIA all but confirms that the compound is home to UBL, and it seemed that the only real opinion to terminate the target with certain, was to go in with Tier-One operators. With the intelligence that the CIA as gathered, a mock-up of the compound was constructed in A-Stan for ST-6 to train. This is similar to workup to the 1989 rescue of Kurt Muse by DELTA during the invasion of Panama.
On May 1st, two "stealth" Blackhawks flew 160 miles into Pakistan, however, due to the walled compound, one of the helicopters could not achieve lift, crushing into the courtyeard, scrubbing a portion of the assault, where one team was taking the building from the bottom, and the other from the top. Instead, they adapt, blowing through the walls, link-up, securing the parimeter while two strike teams (about 24 assaulters) took the buildings. They ran into only light security, few armed guards, but lots of women and children, only complicating the SEALs mission further, and in addition, UBL had the interior designed to delay the assaulters. During the assault teams' rush up to third floor,one of UBL's son gets capped, and UBL himself lends over the railing to see assaulters, who fired, barely missing him.
He ran back into his bedroom, while two fleeing screaming girls flying into the arms of a SEAL, who removed them out of the line of fire. Then it came time to take out the trash. Two DEVGRU operators kicked in the door, it is unknown if a flash-bang device was used, but they were greeted by UBL's wife running at them, she was taken down with a GSW to the leg, and the next SEAL pops two rounds, one into the chest, the other through the eye. UBL dies unarmed, at the hands of an unnamed DEVGRU operator, and by an unknown gun. While the mission went extremely well, if the Pakistans had shown up and ex-fil was impossible, than the Plan B was for the SEAL teams to use the walls of the compound, hold up, and wait for Washington to get them out.   

The Weapons/Gear of NEPTUNE SPEAR
There were 79 members DEVGRU's "Red" Squadron that took down UBL, and would have been kitted out in the best weapons the most important of their careers as Tier-One operators. Since the mission was to be at night, low-profile, and time being a critical element, the operators would have been going in light, with the latest of PEQ technology, NGVs, possibility some sort of "night camo", and above all; sound suppressors. I doubt that the SEALs would have been rolling in with sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and heavy machine guns, despite the backup plan of using the compound if they were discovered and unable to ex-fil out of the hotzone. The four SEALs that setup the parameter, could have other weapons, like a M110 sniper rifle and a Mk.46 LMG, but given the mission, most would have been armed with an assault carbine.

The Possible Candidates for the Gun that Killed the Most Wanted Man

The H&K 416
If one googles the topic of this blogpost, the general opinion of the internet is that UBL was killed by the Hecker & Koch (5.56mm) 416. Is this the gun? And why was a Tier-One Specops unit using it?
The easy answer is that this German-made assault rifle was Hecker & Koch's attempt to redevelop the 40+ year old  American M16 system for the demands of these new 21st century wars, and hopefully get the contract to rearm the US military.
H&K turned to former DELTA operator Larry Vickers for help. The advantage of the 416 for members of DEVGRU was that they received a short-stroke piston free-floating weapon that is greatly improved in reliability and accuracy, but still retains enough of the Colt M4 design to allow the Tier-One Operators to unitize their lengthy muscle memory, making the 416 an out-of-the-box winner for SOCOM. The weapon performed at such level that other allied governments adopted the 416/417 as their standard assault rifle, but not the US armed forces as whole, only DELTA and DEVGRU, and this speaks volumes about the 416.The gun has been photographic with portered Team Six and DELTA operators during combat operations, and FOX news showed imagines of H&K 416s' being recovered from the crash site of the Chinook shot down in A-Stan in August of 2011 (FWS will not post the pics out of respect). When it came to the job of killing Bin Laden, the 416 was more than up to the task, and that is why, most likely, that this assault carbine that double-tapped that son-of-a-bitch into flaming afterlife he so richly deserved.

H&K 416 links:
A small article about the H&K 416 and the Army

All about the sorted history of the M4

A nice short video of the 416

The Colt M4 CQBR (MK 18 Mod 0)

If the operation to kill Bin Laden had been launched a few years ago, than this variant of the Colt M4 carbine would have gotten the call. The close quarters battle receiver was developed by Naval Surface Warfare Center: Crane Division in 2000 as a replacement for the normal M4 carbine receiver, converting it to a close quarters "commando" length, from 33 inches to 29.3, mostly through a 10.3 inch barrel. The CQBR hearkens back to the supershort Colt M16 Commandos that were in-service from Vietnam, to the Gulf War, to the operation in Somalia. It was well-received by NAVSPECWAR, DELTA, EOD, and the Coast Guard, however, the CQBR's fatal flaw was it being based on the M4/M16, giving it lackluster performance in sandy conditions of Iraq and A-Stan. This results in poor soldier reports, daily cleanings, and failure in combat, caused Tier-One Operators searching elsewhere for another 5.56 NATO carbine, the H&K 416 was result of that search (which as a 10inch barrel variant). It is doubtful after all of the bad field reports and failures of the M4, especially at the Battle of Wanat, that a Red Squadron to trust the mission on a faulty rifle system. These factors negate the M4 CQBR from being on Operation: NEPTUNE SPEAR.    

The New Colt CM901 Modular Weapon System

The rumor running about the internet is that not only was this new Colt assault rifle modular rifle at NEPTUNE SPEAR, but, it was the gun that killed UBL with a 7.62x51mm double-tap.
Is that true? Aside from the H&K 416, this looks like the other best guess of the gun that killed the most wanted man in the world. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I only learned of the existence of the Colt Modular Rifle after it was announced for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and since then, I've been attempting to unlock it on Survival (on rank 38!).
In keeping with the current trend in next-gen military assault rifles, Colt engineered the CM901to have variable barrel lengths, and cambering various calibers, including the 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO, along with the AK-47 7.62x39mm, and the up-and-coming 6.8 Remington SPC. There are rumors of the CM901 be able to camber more calibers in the near future, like the AK-74 5.43x39mm, 6.5mm Grendel, .50 Beowulf, and the .338 Lapua Magnum.
Due to the rarity, specialized purpose, and relative newness of the CM901, there is a lack of pictorial evidence of it being used by the SPECOPS community. This could be chalked up to the similar cosmetic appearance to the H&K 416 and other specially built AR15 clones. As with the H&K 416 and the SCAR, Colt must likely was in the hands of Tier-One operators years before its 2010 perimeter, being tested and refined. This relationship between firearms and Tier-One was explained by Mark Bowden in this book Blackhawk Down: "They all had custom-built weapons with hand rifled barrels and such. Gun manufacturers outfitted them the way Nike supplies pro athletes (pg 70)". Much like the H&K 416, there is a strong case for the Colt CM901 being on NEPTUNE SPEAR, and possibly in the room when UBL caught the express elevator to Hell. The element blocking Colt's modular rifle from that possibility, is unlike the H&K 416, which as been tested in actually battle conditions for a few years, the relatively new CM901 does not have in-field time that a weapon of DEVGRU would require.

The FN SCAR, like the cancelled H&K XM8, was to be a family-style weapon systems, accepting of two different calibers, and for awhile it seemed that the SCAR was going to be the next widely next-gen rifle for the US military. The SEAL teams started using a few themselves, and everything looked on track until summer 2010. SOCOM cancelled their contract with FN for the 5.56 "light" version, and folded remaining money into the the 7.62x51 "heavy" version and the Mk. 20 sniper version, which SOCOM would still be using. It seemed that the 5.56mm Mk. 16 variant did not separate itself from the pack in order to get more funding. This mostly likely equals that the FN SCAR was NOT on the gun that delivered the fatal shots to end UBL's shitty existence. There could be a chance (a slim one) that the Mk.20 sniper variant was there in case of plan 'B'.  

For a period of about thirty years, the H&K 9mm MP5 was the submachine gun of choice for counter-terrorism forces, SWAT teams, and hostage rescue, and if Operation: NEPTUNE SPEAR had taking place in the 1980's or 1990's, then UBL would have been capped with an MP5. However, given the mission's AO of being inside Pakistan, the backup plan if the SEAL team was discovered was to have the SEAL use the walled Abottabad compound to keep Pakistan security forces out while the diplomats in Washington D.C. talked the SEALs out (http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/05/ap-raiders-knew-mission-a-one-shot-deal-051711/). This backup backup would exclude the use of SMGs as a offensive tool if the shit went bad. In addition, it is likely that intelligence on the site could not confirm if UBL's bodyguards had bodyarmor, and given his resources, it would be a good bet that he did have access. That reason alone for an experience Tier One operator NOT to use an 9mm sub. The only justification for the use of the 9mm MP5 was its integrated sound suppressor, that, according to research, is one of the quietest suppressed weapons.     

The SIG SAUER P226 9mm has served as the Navy SEALs sidearm since 1985, replacing the Colt 1911 .45ACP, while is it fact that SEALs carry this sidearm into battle, what is unsure that DEVGRU carries as their sidearm. It is possible that like DELTA, DEVGRU can and does carry the sidearm that they want, not what the Department of the Navy thinks they should. Would this mean that DEVGRU Operators carry the Swiss-made 9mm? I've read that Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts, a member of DEVGRU, fell out of Chinook helicopter on Takur Ghar, and was forced to engaged AQ and Taliban fighters with his LMG, then when that ran out, he switched to his P226.
One thing that operators relays in the thick, is training, and in the course of a being a SEAL then transforming into a DEVGRU Tier-One operator, this soldier is bombarded with firearms training. For hundreds of hours, that SEAL has fired a P226 on the range and in kill-houses, making this pistol as familiar as his wife's backside. That is a great deal of muscle memory to fight against, especially when you deal with such a fine piece of Swiss firearm engineering (yeah, I love SIG, does it show?). It is more than possible that some of the operators that stormed UBL's house in Pakistan had SIGs in their holsters. But was it the firearm that double-tapped him to the afterlife? No, the facts simply do not support the use of a sidearm in the situation. Pistols, as a rule, are secondary, and only drawn when the primary is down or too bulky for CQC. That was not the case with the DEVGRU operators on NEPTUNE SPEAR, they were fully prepared for the conditions of the target building and had time to select a primary weapon for the task. It is unlikely when the operators followed UBL into his room after taking a few shots at that they switching out, especially if they didn't know what was behind the door. When in doubt, go in with your best gun.

H&K 45C
For the same reasons listed above, I doubt that UBL was sent packing, via a sidearm, and if he was, I'm more certain it was P226 and not the newly acquired H&K 45C.
In September of 2010, NAVSPECWAR  adopted the .45 ACP handgun, and according to some research, it replaced the H&K Mark 23 SOCOM Offensive pistol that was adopted in 1996.

H&K Mark 23 SOCOM
In 1991, SOCOM put out a contract for a "offensive handgun in the .45 ACP.", and after a gurgling contest of tortuous tests, the H&K Mk.23 SOCOM was awarded the contract for about 2,000 handguns. By 1996, these large-frame .45 sidearms were delivered to SOCOM and soon mated with a sound suppressor and LAM device. The general public became aware of the Mk. 23 in 1998 with it being in Metal Gear Solid as the "SOCOM", along with being featured in the excellent movie Tears of the Sun, and the Navy SEALs SOCOM games.
However, the gun in the real-world seemed to have possessed a lackluster career. It is fact that NAVSPECWAR had this .45 in their inventory, being was seen at Fleet Week and SEAL public demonstrations, but there no evidence supported that the Mk. 23 was ever used in battle, and is being discontinued by SOCOM. Research that I did talked of operators not liking the heaviness of the weapon along with the added weight to their already overloaded gear loadout, and casts a major doubt over the H&K Mk. 23 even being on the mission, let alone, the gun that double-tapped him to the seventh layer of hell.  

Colt M1911 .45ACP
When the US Naval Special Development Group was formed in 1980, they, like DELTA and the rest of US armed forces used the 1911 Colt .45 ACP, then in 1985, when the 9mm round was officially adopted over the .45 ACP, the 1911 days were ended, save for in the realm of Special Operations, where .45 ACP continued to be used by DELTA until today. But was it used by DEVGRU and was it the gun that killed UBL? There is some internet speculation that some of the DEVGRU operators carry the MEU SOC .1911 45 ACP used by the Marines, and that maybe true, but given the conditions of last moments of UBL's shitty life, a pistol wasn't a sound tactical choice.

With the vast majority of Special Operation Teams turning away from traditional Submachine guns evokes the prospect of an SMG being used during Operation: NEPTUNE SPEAR. However, the  H&K MP7 PDW that fires the specially developed 4.6mm round as been photographed in the hands of NAVSPECWAR Operators in A-Stan, and was seen in the 2010 video game Medal of Honor, which was developed with the help of former Tier-One operators, which all speaks highly of this little gun's abilities. Does this mean that the MP7 was on the mission to Abottabad? Not as the main tool of the assault teams, given its limited offensive abilities, especially during Plan B, but I do think that it is a possibly for a sound suppressed MP7 PDW was in the hands of the dog handler.

Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 Watt range

03 December 2011

FWS News Flash! Starship Troopers to get a remake!

io9.com posted yesterday that Sony Pictures has greenlighted the remake of Starship Troopers, and has hired two screenwriters, Ashely Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class, Thor) along with the producer of Fast Five and I am Legend, Neal Moritz. There has been a remake rumored since 2000, when the SyFy Channel was eyeballing it for a big mini-series, like they did with Dune and Battlestar Galactica. But nothing came of it, while sequels based on Paul Verhoeven's 1997 film continued to be spawned. There was a 2000 CGI cartoon series called the Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles that attempted to bridge the gap between the book and film, but ran for only one season. This is the best news we've heard about a serious complete remake in over a decade, and Sony Pictures seems to be serious about breathing new life into the Starship Troopers name.
 But which version will get the remake? Will this reboot be based on the 1958 founding classic novel of military science fiction, or will it be based on the campy 1997 film?
Another question, will the B movies that are descended from the 1997 film continue? Like rumors of another Battlestar Galactica based on the classic 1970's series?
None of the articles I've read point to an answer.
My hopes are high that the book will finally get its cinematic due, but with added layers that allow it be more of a well-rounded product, unlike the book, which is a little dull and gets on a soapbox about politics one too mny times, while the movie is...well...bad.
FWS will be talking more about the previous Starship Troopers films in a few months with a Broken Promises blogpost.

30 November 2011

FWS Flash Fiction Serial: The Empty Places-Part Six "CASEVAC"

Erin adjusted her pilot optical setup on her lightweight helmet; the brilliant sunlight gleamed off of the Hopper waiting on the pad. There mere slight of her aerial insect beast stirred feeling deep inside of Hawksworth’s soul, supreme confidence washed over her, she was fulfilling her ultimate destiny by being here as a combat pilot. While most people dick around with what they’re going to do, Erin knew the first moment she saw an anti-gravity aerocraft loom over the landscape that she wanted to be a pilot. As she had done since the age of fourteen, she entered the bubble-cockpit of an A/G vehicle, and took the controls like it was a natural process. While most girls obsessed over the last fashion, the length of their skits, she already wore wings, and was a private pilot for major Colonial VIPs. It was the invasion that made her a combat pilot

She was greeted in the tight space by Ray, her co-pilot and general pain-on-the-ass, already hard at work on the checklist. “Got the Kinemassic field generators spun-up, Chief! VTOL thrusters lit! Rocket and gun pods are locked-n-loaded! We’re ready to rock!”

“Get those damn ground-pounders up now, Ray, we gotta go!”

Ray clicked over, “this November-Witch 1-1 Control, get Meatgrinder up here, we’re spun-up.”

“Solid copy, they’re all yours.” Ray flashed a wide smile and gave her the thumbs-up.

“This CASEVAC OP sucks!” Hawksworth adjusted her HUD readouts, and triple-checked, then she placed her PDW in the canopy slot. “The Syncs overran Jensen and White Forest; everyone is fallen back to this point.” She showed Ray on a holo-map hanging between them.

“Triple-thick trees, works both ways.”

“Maybe for the boots on the ground, but not up here.” She cycled back to some fresh incoming data. “It looks like the remains of FOB White Forest is under the command of a Sergeant Aroyo, call sign Wildcat 2-5.”

Co-pilot Ray nodded, “A Sergeant? The shit must be bad.”He cycled through the dozen A/G combat aircraft in their November-Witch Hopper unit, and saw two heavy-lift Babar hoppers. He tapped on the Captain’s shoulder, pointed, and confirmed with a nod. With a mere controlled and selected thought, Erin accessed the local COM-VR-NET, and was in cerebral contact with the pilot.

“Hey, Kettlebell 1-5?” She said casually

“What’s up, November-Bitch?” The thick accent of the male pilot came over, loud and clear, even with the COM-VR-NET.

“That’s November-Witch, truck-driver!”

“Oh, sorry, my mistake…”He faked.

“Sure, Kettlebell 1-5, done loading the Mansons and Onikumas yet?”

“Confirmed, Kettlebell 1-5 and 1-6 are loaded to bear, November-Witch 1-1.” She notified Ray with an update to his personal HUD. With that, and the green-light loaded status on Meatgrinder, the CASEVAC mission was on hot-standby.

Then her brain caught up to the fact that there was a missing Babar, “confirmed that, 1-5 just you and 1-6? SITREP on 1-7.”

“FUBAR’ed and MIA, 1-1.”

“Goddamn it, 1-5!” Hawksworth had played Backgammon with the co-pilot of Kettlebell 1-7 just last week!

“Allah Maakum, 1-1.”

“Xin lio.” She answered back and cut the connection, and flipped over to the Air-Boss. “This is November-Witch 1-1, Hoppers spun-up and ready for the hunt, Air-Boss.”

“Green lights, confirmed go on VTOL.” With clearance, Hawksworth expertly nudged the controls, and the heavily anti-gravity vehicle lifted off from the pad, flanked by a dozen other Hoppers. The alien skies seemed fitted with the insect-like armored aircraft. Newly minted recruit from Earth’s wastelands, Sandoval, gripped his new MILSPEC laser, and checked his ALC-9 laser pistol, along with the grenades. It took his mind off the fact that he had never been a plane before, and a low-dose of Courage helped relax him. Surrounding him in the open-door gunship was his new family, Meatgrinder, and his official comm.-traffic call-sign was Meat 3-7, or Meatgrinder jump platoon, third fire-team, number seven.

As the vehicles crossed the vast colored jungles, he noticed there was no visual break of the rope-trees, it was like a living ocean, he turned away, and gazed upon words carved into the plassteel doors: God be between you and harm, in all the empty places where you must walk. In oddly warm sense came over him, and immediately recognized that he would never forgotten those words. This phase gave Sandoval an belief sense of hope, when he had none, being his first combat mission, that if this Earther had survived the Outback, than he could damn well live to see Elysium. Seated next him was the other Aussie, and behind the visor, he boldly stared at the pretty girl. Samantha took noticed and smiled back. But they said nothing, just marveling in the vista of the other A/G gunships flying formation.

It was the freighting sounds of war that shattered her mind, and before Maya’s shielded eyes, the jungle floor was a concert of horror for the greedy gods of war. Dr. Phoenix’s laser weapons danced deadly nearly invisible beams of high energy into the charging alien life-forms. Bursts of brilliant flashes from impacts lit up the darkened conditions, accompanied by pops and cracks, like logs in a roaring fire. Human screams were washed as these alien feral berserkers torn in the Colonial ranks. Maya flashed her PLC-3 laser carbine from target-to-target, stressing the armor’s aiming software and motors to the maximum, while her body was tightly regulated by the steady course of Courage. The monstrous alien werewolf-forms, slashed and torn armored human flesh with claws and teeth, leaping from victim-to-victim, causing Colonial soldiers to hit their own, and laying the heavy AHL-1 laser cannons dormant as both sides mixed in a melee. On the raised position behind Maya, sniper Gauss shots wilted down the berserker reinforcements that emerged from jungle, but they could not help those locked in desperate close contact.

She fired her Steyr-Phoenix on the special anti-armor setting of 40kj, wiping out the battery and taxing the cooling system, but each beam that connected; flash-steamed exploded the organic armor of the Sync. Sergeant Aroyo was too fixated on the killing floor of the battlefield to see the berserker striking an aerial attack.

Her armor sensors alerted her into the attack a heartbeat before it sank its front and rear claws into her armor, Maya parried the blow with the body of her PLC-3 carbine, blocking its momentum, recoiling it back, but her carbine was shattered. Recovering much quickly than the human sergeant, it swiped in a wide arch with four inch claws, catching a chuck of her armor. She screamed, and more Courage answered the call. There was no time to deploy her sidearm, she spun, unhooking her tomahawk from her belt, just as the alien readied another strike. She dodged, planted the blade into its flank of organic armor. The pain and shock unbalanced the creature, allowed Maya a window of opportunity. With rage and drugs fueling her hand, she landed repeated blows into its side, tearing a bleeding gash, then kicked it off the mount of composted jungle material. Without a moment of rest or mercy, she hacking her attacker’s head into a red pulsating mush. As satisfaction washed over her, the hum of Kinemassic field generators emanated from above the canopy.

“This November-Witch 1-1, to Wild-Cat 2-5, we’re on station.”

“November-Witch, we’re in deep serious, berserkers mixed-in, heavy gun unit in the bush behind us.” That eliminated the option of CAS, and Hawksworth cursed, as she signed to Ray to extend the A/G field to ground level, and deployed a gunship via COM-VR-NET to pound the mobile Sync artillery units.

“Solid copy, 2-5, we’re roping in groundpounders.”

“November-Witch, we’ve got reinforcements flowing in from the North-North-West of our position.” Erin pulled up her holo-map, and assigned two of the gunships for CAS tasking on the alien positions.

“Confirmed 2-5, I’ve got some fire headed their way.” She finger-signed to Ray, and he adjusted the light in the rear to green. It was time for November-Witch’s passengers to get off. Sandoval was alerted to the change in the light via everyone jumping out of the open doors of the Hopper. His educated brain told him that it was okay, that the gunship had extended its anti-gravity field to the jungle floor, and they could descend without aid of a rope. But it was still against every natural instinct, until the door gunner yelled at them to get the fuck out. So, he grabbed Samantha’s hand, and as they jumped out, with the blood draining out of their feet, and Courage being pumped, he noticed it was surreal. They floated down; no rush of wind, no screaming, and no piss down their legs.

That tranquilly was shattered the moment their armored boots hit the deck. Samantha Porter died right in front of him; torn to shreds, bloody rain on his tactical gear. Sandoval, shocked at the violence unleashed on them, wiping it away, kept firing at her attacker, and took a massive hit from the Courage. The fresh dose of drugs coursed through his veins, fuelling his raging impulse of death and destruction, spurning him to assault their position. He killed them with a glad heart; blood mixed with his friend’s, and his laser gun pulsated in an orgy of grisly delight.

He was so fucked up; he couldn’t feel a damn thing. But, that was their plan, the brass back on Janus, medicated the hell out of them; giving the grunts hope to live though the fields of slaughter, and get that promised piece of Elysium. Sandoval didn’t want to feel anything anymore, nothing. Only the rush of combat, the pulsing heart of his weapon tearing my enemy into bloody art of shredded flesh.

As Meatgrinder waved into the melee of jungle floor, two anti-gravity gunships blasted the incoming Sync forces; this gave the ground forces below some breathing room to deal with the alien forces mixed within their ranks. Erin and Ray thought in that moment, that this OP was going to be easier than planned. That was until their helmets filled with alarms.

“Ray! What the Hell?!”

“Shin’s got incoming hot-box drop pods!” Erin wasted no time, she shipped down the data to troopers, and the response was nearly instant from the CO of Meatgrinder: Deploy the Mansons and Onikumas! The computers calculated the drop-zone of the Sync pods, and Erin clicked over to Kettlebell 1-5.

“The orders been given, Kettlebell! Send down the psychos!” From the belly of the great hovering beast, the Babar launched two massive shells at the alien drop-zone. In the horizon, rope-trees and jungle floor were scorched clean to make a clean DZ for the Mansons and Onikumas units.

“Psychos on the ground,” Kettlebell 1-5 linked over to Hawksworth. “Prey for the Syncs.”

“I only prey for my enemies to go to hell, 1-5.”

When the Sync endo-atmospheric drop pods burst open with fresh alien ranks, they fully expected to see empty rope-tree jungle, instead it was smoking ashy ground, and surrounding the pods was a phalanx of AI driven heavily armed mecha, called Onikumas, and Courage-pumped up murderous crazies, called Manson Units. These were the worst of the worst of Colonial society, and unknown to the general public, these warehoused humans were removed from their cells, and deployed to the battlefield as the Colonial version of the Sync’s Berserkers. They were the dirty secrets of the Colonial military, but in this case, they served death to the alien enemy, ending the Syncs attempted flanking maneuver in a few seconds of weapons’ fire.

What started off as a defeat, looked like it would be a successful ex-fil back to base. Sensing the fortunes of the battle shifting, the aliens pressed their final attack, and one, specifically targeted the leader, Sergeant Aroyo. The alien warrior fired several hot spike-like projectiles into her lower armor plating, buckling it, Maya collapsed into the soft ground, struggling against the damage and trapped by a failed suit motor, the animal portion of her brain screamed at her to get-the-hell-up, fully invoking flight-or-fight, as heavy doses of Courage were injected, she didn’t fear, it was more survival. That came into clear focus when the Sync warrior leveled its weapon at her head, as her hands groped for a weapon.

It was over, but Maya didn’t give against this alien shit lording over her, she wrangled free her black market last-ditch shotgun pistol-revolver, desperately swinging it to bear. There was a whirl of movement, Sergeant Aroyo, braced herself for a thrashing by the thing above. her Instead her eyes welled up to the moment of her salvation, a colonial trooper chopping the Sync with a tomahawk, thick dark fluid trail whipping through the moist forest air, signing to the experienced soldier that her failed executor was being dealt within a brutal manner. Maya liked this soldier’s style. When he was done, the soldier wiped the blade on a tree, and extended a hand to her.

“Sandoval, Meatgrinder, we’re the QRF.”

“Sgt. Aroyo, what’s left of Wildcat.” She took his hand and was helped up, despite the liberal doses of Courage, pain receptors were lit up in her lower quadrant. “What’s the status, trooper?” She checked her wounds, as Sandoval applied a nano-patch to the cracked armor.

“QRF roped in on the flanks of the enemy, the Hoppers lit a backfire, while the crazies and bots secured the front, and we lopped around, and crushed them.”

“MIA?” She asked, Sandoval now knew, from the briefing, what she was asking: How many of my friends were dragged off to be more of these fuckers?

“17.” He said mournfully.

Maya screamed, “goddamnit!” She moved up on a ridge composed of fallen trees, observing the hasty battlefield. Lit Rope-Trees smoldered covering the jungle floor in hazy, but her improved hearing easily picked up the wails of the wounded, and the cries of living; it was the dead that are silent on the battlefield. Maya mused as her rescuer joined her.

“RTB?” She asked, trying to make some conversion to distract her from the horror below.

“Yeah, back to FOB Shin. They’re sending more Babar heavily Hoppers for CASEVAC.”

“The treehouse, eh?”

“I guess you could call it that,” he thought of his new home above the tree-line. “And when we get back to Shin, you’re buying the pints.” Sergeant Aroyo ignored the banter about beers, and rallied the scattered remains of her unit to a small clearing, freshly made by a few daisy-cutter artillery rounds. She and her new savior from Meatgrinder, were the last boots out of the hellish jungle, as Maya was roped up (A/G field only worked for decent not ascent), she wept for everyone they had lost and that had been taken away.

25 November 2011

FWS Topics: Temporal Warfare

Recently, io9.com posted a list of sci-fi works where the time is the primary battlefield (http://io9.com/5858758/when-time-is-a-battlefield-the-most-bewildering-time-wars) and not some far-away planet. These time-wars are not waged over where but when. While these time-wars are not the standard vision of traditional military science fiction, it is subelement of futuristic warfare, and presents a different idea of how and why future wars could be waged.
When it comes to presenting the concept of temporal warfare, those of us that grew up watching Doctor Who and Star Trek,  the concept was often seen, but few works have been able to bring this home. This could be do with temporal warfare lacking in a realistic approach with its delivery, overall lack of thought and hard science behind it, because at its core, MSF is natural more realistic and hard science than traditional sci-fi.

Could there be a Time-War?

If time was the batteground of the future, what would it look like? Would there be massive armies of futuristic warriors blasting each other with rayguns? Or would it be spy vs. spy type of warfare? Could there even be a war over the course of different time periods, without destroy the totality of the universe? Certainly any soldiers of the future that were deployed to another time period would have to be careful when engaging in any type of gunfight...one stray round could change the future in a vast unseen ways, butterfly effect, indeed. The main reason behind the use time travel as a weapon would to even the odds in a losing conflict or even changing the conditions to bring about their adversaries. When really thought of temporal warfare, it brought a quote of President Kenned from 1962: "this is another type of warfare- new in its intensity, ancient its origin-war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest."

Temporal warfare never really entered by own writings until 2007. After reading Maus by Art Spiegelman, I explored the possibility of a temporal war in my still-unfinished-short-story, The Murder of One. In this far-future story, Dr. Misha Fischer develops time travel in the 36th century, and it leads to a war over the technology by governments and corporations, however, once the technology falls into he hands of various religious groups, they trying to prove the existence of their god and assassinate each others prophets to prevent each other religion's  from existing.
To end the conflict and preserve the human race,  Dr. Fischer escapes with the technology off-world, goes back several years before her development of time travel, and attempts to use the technology to explore the past with trained historical anthropologist-travelers that wear "encounter suits."
This story picks up when a traveler goes to a Nazi Death Camp, and ends with the death of Hitler during World War One, and once Dr. Fischer is aware of the altered timeline and she comes to the realizationthat  the only to prevent time-travel, is to kill herself.
This story taught me that if and when humanity achieve ability to travel through time, someone will exploit the technology for their own gain. This will distort how history originally unfolded, and the change our reality ways we cannot imagine or control. Making time travel one of the most dangerous technologies the world will ever see. This could be why the that laws of physics prevent it from happening.
"Reality is, what we think now, a string that someone else can pull, and history is how far they pull it..." -Dr. Misha Fischer, 3581 AD

Here is a list of some examples, most not covered in the io9 article, of temporal warfare:

Time Beavers

In this 1985 First Comics graphic novel by Timothy Truman, as the great time steam of the universe and its dam, being guarded by gun-carrying Beavers (I shit you not). Their enemy? Rats that seek to control the dam and become a time lords devoted to chaos. During a successful raid, the Rats get control of three important artifacts from Earth, and seek to use these objects to destroy the flow of time, while the Beavers hunt for the rat teams throughout certain time periods. Time Beavers was a wonderful graphic novel and is better than my summary of it. Truely, one of the lost gems of 1980's comics.

Dr. Who

The show itself was never that focused on warfare or gunfights, especially when concerning the Doctor himself. However, within the background of the longest running sci-fi show, there was the shadow war between the Daleks and the Time Lords of Gallifrey, over the destiny of the universal timeline. This came to an apex with  'The Last Great Time War' that cost Gallifrey its very existence. While the storylines that played through the original (or classic) Doctor Who series where Time Lords attempting to prevent the Daleks from achieving time travel technology were interesting, the new series having Gallifrey destoryed seems like bad written and destory a certain something that the classic series had.

Star Trek: Enterprise: The Temporal Cold War
"And that's where I had sex with your Great-Great Grandma..."
Throughout the Star Trek saga, the subject of time travel and travelers as been covered...alot; and at times, these time travelers have attempted to change the time line in their favor.
These lame attempts pale in comparison to the 'Temporal Cold War' of the best the Star Trek series, Enterprise. During the pilot episode until season four, different factions from the 31st century that possessed time travel were attempting to alter the 22nd century, during which, the Federation was formed, by the use of proxy forces. Despite my recent falling out with Star Trek, I believe the Temporal Cold War of Enterprise is one of the best example of temporal warfare in mainstream sci-fi. 
HEX (1985)

In the mid-80's, the Mad Max post-apocalyptic nuclear holocaust was big business and DC Comics wanted a piece of the mushroom cloud pie. So, they took their Western gunfighter anti-hero Jonah Hex, and transplanted him to a 21st century post-nuclear war apocalypse to do battle with biker gangs and giant worms (not kidding). During his eighteen issue run, Hex, Jonah Hex ran into other time travelers, that were sent to stop him.


Here is one of the concepts of time being a battleground that featured  the men and women that protect the timeline for being altered. Sadly, the Timecop movie and the short-lived TV series were not done well enough to unlize the concept and suffered from a lack of realism and general chesseiness. The good news is that there is a relaunch coming soon, and there is a fair possibility that this movie could be remade with a more solid concept and without a certain Martial Artist...

Millennium: "Owls" and "Roosters"

One of the offshoots of the success of the X-Files was the show about the end of the world, a secret society, a gifted profiler, and serial killers, and it was called Millennium. The show itself didn't have any time travel storylines, but the secret society that former-FBI profiler Frank Black worked for, the Millennium Group, had been waiting a thousand years for the turn of the next century, when the end of the world would occur. However, two sides within the Millennium Group battled for control, the Owls and the Roosters, one believed a scientific event would happen in 2000 AD, another believed that it would be the fulfillment of the end times. It was a group moving through time and battling about time, which was interesting concept and done extremely well...I miss the 90's at times.  

The X-Files "Synchrony" (4x19)

I was massive fan of the X-Files up until its Fifth season that is, and one episode that as stuck with me is the low-rated "Synchrony" from the middle of season four. Murders are being committed against a select group of MIT researchers using a freezing compound. It is later learned that the elder man committing these murders is an time traveler and is the older self to one of the researchers. This time traveler explains to his younger self about the horrors of a society that can travel through time: "What she created. What you - we - helped to create. A world without history, without hope. Where anyone can know everything that will ever happen. I've seen that world"
This quote has directly impacted my thinking on time travel and what might happen in December of 2012.  

Star Trek: Voyager "Year of Hell"

The majority of ST: Voyager's episodes were complete dogshit and helped end my long love affair with Star Trek, until Enterprise, however, Voyager did have a two-parter called "Year of Hell", where an alien species is using surgical insurrections into the timestream to restore their long-dead empire./ The captain of the alien time warship's was also a personal quest to restore his dead wife as well, and the other all story was similar to Moby Dick. This was one of the more brutal and violent episode of Voyager, where all seemed lost, until Janeway gives the time warship a taste of the divine wind.

The Forever War by Joe Haldmen

In a odd way, the Forever War is a book about soldiers fighting their way across time. The method of FTL for the aliens and humans fighting this war involves collapsers (wormholes), but the laws of time dilation still apply, causing the war to be waged over 1,143 years. This causes battles to be seperated by hundreds of years, and the soldiers to lose all concept of home and time.

Seven Days (TV series)

This UPN series ran from 1998 to 2001, and featured an NSA program called Operation: Backstep that created a time machine from a reverse engineered crashed alien craft from 1947. The time machine was in two parts, one opened the crack in time back seven days, and the other was the Chronosphere, where the time traveler was encased, which had flight controls and readouts, but wasn't a time machine in of itself.
The limit of seven days was due to their ultra-rare fuel source (Element 113) that was recovery from the crashed UFO. The time technology was also used into the future and there was attempted time machine being built by the Soviets. This little series was completely under funded and under rated during its run. Interestingly, this idea of a limited time machine being used by the US government as been seen in two recent movies.

Terra Nova

This lackluster mega-expensive TV series as been hinting at a conflict between factions in 2149 are using the Terra Nova settlement and the breakaway Sixers in Prehistoric Earth to gain control. Maybe if the series focused on that and developed it, than Terra Nova may not be so lackluster, which is what we got on November 21st episode of Terra Nova, "Vs," that deepended the overall mystery of the power struggle for the Terra Nova settlement.  

The Terminator series

Out of all the time war stories, the best explored in several types of media is The Terminator. Unlike the other stories and plots mentioned on this list, there is something so pure and natural about the basic plot of Terminator that works, and is oddly believable, especially with the realism of the nuclear Holocaust and the dark future war with the machines.. The only issue, for me, is that the entire Terminator saga as been so frakked with, that the original concept as been destroyed by layers and layers of shit. However, if you just consider the first two films, The Terminator stands above the other time-war ideas.

The Big Time by Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber's 1957 story was ligthyears ahead of its time, and the concept of time-travelers abducting persons from other time periods to serve as proxies in their time-war was capitalized on by other writers, like Poul Anderson's1 965 Corridors of Time and Star Trek: TOS "The Savage Curtain"
The Big Time plot had two far-future factions named the Snakes and the Spiders fighting their across time using characters from different Terran time periods as proxies to change the time flow in favor of one or the other.

The Lord of the Sands of Time

Issui Ogawa is truly one of the master's time travel war books, along with All you need is Kill, he created The Lord of the Sands of Time, where mankind lost their war with the aliens, and the remnants of mankind are orbiting Jupiter. To prevent and/or reverseof  Earth's fortunes, mankind and the aliens are jumping around different time periods to swing the balance one way our another.

The Corridor of Time by Poul Anderson (1965) 

In this novel about time warfare, the Ranger and Wardens battle over "temporal freewill" of how the destiny of mankind unfolds, I actually read a few pages of this book in a used book store in Grandbury, Texas, and hit me at the time was the characters used different weapons in different time periods, and the characters could identify their time traveling enemies based on the weapons.  Along with Corridor of Time, he also wrote the The Time Patrol.

Time-Splitters Video Game series

I've never played the Timesplitters video game series, but from Internet searches, it seems that human soldiers are using time crystals to perverse the timeline from alien  "timesplitters" created by human to be the genetic superior to mankind, and they are attempting to frak with the timeline to install themselves as the dominant species.

Odyssey 5 (TV series)

During a routine Space Shuttle flight, the Earth explodes before the crew's eyes, and all seems lost, until a race called the Seekers rescues them, informing the crew of the Odyssey that fifty other worlds have been destroyed in a similar manner. The crew of five surviving members of the Space Shuttle Odyssey back five years before the destruction of the Earth  prevent the destruction. The series was cancelled after fourteen episodes, so we never got to find out if the Earth was saved...bummer.

Darkest of Days 

Nothing sucks worse that taking a great concept for a shooter ith a grand idea, then turning it into completely and utter dogshit.S uch was true of Darkest of Days. The story focused on time-travelers trying to save certain important individuals from dying in some of Earth history's biggest battles, while others attempt to stop them to alter the timeline in their favor. The game itself was widely panned, despite the use of ancient weapons and epic-scale battlefields, real pity.

The Guns of the South

What if, the best assault rifle in the world, the AK-47 was given to the Confederate Army by South African time travelers? Then you'd would  have this novel, which is one of the classics of alternative history books by Harry Trutledove written in 1992. This book will surprise you, much of the novel was devoted not to the Civil War or even the time travelers but to the realistic aftermath of the South winning the war. Out of the rest Turtledove's novels about the alternative Earth timeline, this is his finests.